30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, August 5, 2017

To Collect or Not to Collect

One glance at my collection and it's pretty obvious that I prefer to collect contact hitters over sluggers.  Ever since I was a little kid playing Little League... batting average was one of my favorite statistics to track.

Last week I realized that I have seriously overlooked one player from my childhood after watching a show on HBO.

1977 Topps Cloth #10

Does anyone watch Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel?  The latest episode featured a story about Rod Carew and his recent heart transplant.  I won't spoil it just in case you haven't seen it, but it mentioned that this year is the 40th Anniversary of his MVP season in which he flirted with the elusive .400 batting average into mid July.

1977 Kellogg's #53

He ended up hitting .388, which was substantially higher than the second highest average that season (Dave Parker hit .338).

The show inspired me to look up Carew's career statistics over at Baseball Reference and I was blown away by his accomplishments:

1. Career Batting Average: .328
2.  Seven Batting Titles
3.  1967 American League Rookie of the Year
4.  18 Straight MLB All-Star Game Appearances
5.  1977 American League MVP
6.  1977 Roberto Clemente Award Winner

1986 Fleer Future Hall of Famer #4

Plus in 1991, he became a first ballot hall of famer.

Obviously, I've always known that Carew was a legendary hitter... yet I've never once though of him as a hobby heavyweight.  I was really surprised at how affordable his on-card autographs are.  Here are a few I've purchased (for less than $25) within the past two years:

2015 Leaf Sport Kings Buyback Auto

2016 Topps Strata Autographs Green #SARC

2016 Five Star Silver Signatures #FSSSRC

2015 Museum Collection Archival Autographs #AARCR

2016 Tier One Clear One Autographs #C1ARC

I also have this sticker signature from a few years earlier...

2004 Fleer Greats of the Game #GBA-RC

While sifting through my cards, I also found this interesting insert card of him with Frank Thomas:

1997 Leaf Thomas The Big Heart Leukemia #1

Back in 1996, Carew's youngest daughter lost her battle against leukemia at the age of eighteen.  She was featured on card #1 of this four card set.  Collectors could purchase these for $20 each with all proceeds going to The Frank Thomas Charitable Foundation.

I'm sure I have a few more inserts and cards from the 70's and 80's of Carew laying around somewhere.  I'm just debating on whether or not I want to dive in head first and start collecting one of the greatest hitters from my childhood.

To collect... or not collect... that is the question.

I guess time will tell.  In the meantime...

Any other Carew collectors out there?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!


  1. Carew is one of my favorite guys to collect for quite a few reasons.

    1) He was one of the best hitters of his era -- if not THE best -- and that era was the '70s, a decade I already love.
    2) Unlike the Mantles and Griffeys and Ryans of the baseball world, companies haven't completely oversaturated the market with his cards.
    3) But he still has enough out there to make collecting him a whole lot of fun, plus he has some of the best cards of the '70s.

  2. I really like that Sport Kings auto!

  3. Since he is a Hall of Famer whose career has been partly associated with my favorite team, the Angels - it's hard not to be aware of his accomplishments.

    Admittedly, I don't extensively collect Carew's cards just because I feel like there is a 'here and now' aspect to most of the players I consider collecting, but I am looking for his rookie card to add to my PC.

  4. nick - i knew carew was good... but i didn't realize he was that good until saw his stats on baseball reference. i'm looking forward to seeing which vintage cards of carew i own. i own all of the 72 to 79 sets (except 73), so i know i at least have those. my problem is i'll need two copies (one for the sets and one for my carew collection) if i actually decide to collect him.

    kin - i've been slowly picking up as many of the sport kings buybacks as i can within my budget. these cards look awesome signed. in fact, maybe i'll do a post on the ones i have so far in the near future.

    laurels - started looking for his rookie card last night. they go for a lot higher than i anticipated. luckily i'm pretty patient. best of luck on your search.

  5. Replies
    1. the collection is off and running!